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TAS Country : August 11th 2011
8 Tasmanian Country Friday, August 12, 2011 News From Woolnorth to Beijing NICOLA MORRIS: The VDL chief is preparing for a culture shock. JENNIFER CRAWLEY 'Farming is not complicated. Look after the animals and they will do what they are bred to do, make milk' ---NICOLA MORRIS NICOLA Morris is leaving the wilds of Woolnorth for the crowds of China. Ms Morris has been appointed Fonterra's general manager of its China farms. The VDL chief executive officer is leaving her job and her Stanley cottage for an 18th floor apartment in Beijing, a city of 10 million people. ''It was a very hard decision to leave but it was the right one for me, for my future and the industry I love,'' Ms Morris said. ''I feel incredibly lucky and it is an awesome opportunity to go to China.'' Ms Morris remains passionate about the future of VDL and Woolnor- th, she said. She will return to Woolnorth in October if required to meet with investors who are looking to fund significant expansion at the property. Ms Morris took over Woolnorth 3½ years ago at a time when it had a bottom decile production per cow. Woolnorth produced more than 5 million kilograms of milk this year, making it the country's largest dairy farm. She said her success came from an ''absolute focus on getting the basics right''. ''Farming is not complicated,'' Ms Morris said. ''Look after the animals and they will do what they are bred to do, make milk.'' Fonterra has one fully operational dairy farm in China, one about to be commissioned and one in the plan- ning stages. All the animals are housed. The Fonterra dairy farms are in Yutian county, a 90-minute drive from Beijing. Fonterra is in discussions with potential investors and is look- ing to establish another 20 to 30 dairy farms in China. ''The Fonterra products have been incredibly successful in China and it is a huge market,'' Ms Morris said. ''There is no way Fonterra or any other company in the world could satisfy the demand by exporting their own product. ''If New Zealand sent everything they made to China it would be a pinprick.'' International and Chinese compan- ies are joining the push to build housing-based dairy farms in the most populated country in the world. Fonterra's farms in China will meet the same standards and requirements required of New Zealand and Tasman- ian farms and processing factories, Ms Morris said. It is the people of the North-West Coast she will miss the most, she said. ''The people here have been awe- some. Given the history of this company, it wouldn't be unfair to expect people to be negative because they've seen it all before. ''In reality they couldn't be better. They are the nicest people to live and work with.'' Ms Morris said she expects to have a complete culture shock when she moves to China. Her apartment is on the border of Beijing's embassy district, with a big Chinese and expat population nearby. ''It can be as cosmopolitan as you want it to be,'' Ms Morris said. ''It's no different to when I moved to Stanley, it is what you make it. ''You can sit at home or you can go out. But in China you can eat out every night and eat in a different culture. ''I'll have a driver which will be slightly different. ''It's scary as hell in many ways but also very exciting. What Fonterra learns here, it wants to duplicate in countries like South America and India. If it's successful, it will roll it out in the rest of the world.'' Tag sheep properly or else SHEEP producers have been warned to lift their tagging game or be forced to use electronic devices. The Victorian branch of the Aust- ralian Livestock and Property Agents Association met in Bendigo last week to cement its members' position on identification of sheep. ALPA chief executive Andy Madigan said the meeting clarified details on the National Livestock Identification System for sheep and goats, including a move by the Federal Government to set up a committee to look at electronic tagging. But Mr Madigan said the issue was with producers who needed to improve compliance. ''If producers don't get it right, radio frequency identification devices may be forced on them and all of us.'' Mr Madigan said the ALPA position was that the NLIS sheep and goats system could work with more effort by producers. It was not the role of ALPA to enforce legislation or fine producers if they did not fill out National Vendor Declarations correctly or ensure tags were on sheep. ''The legislators could fine producers though for breaking the laws if the sheep sent in are not compliant,'' he said. Some government departments thought agents should be enforcing the NLIS rules, Mr Madigan said. ''If they think it is so easy for agents to do it, then why don't they do it themselves? We've made it clear it's not our role. They pay us to sell stock.'' He said ALPA's position was to not support electronic tagging until more work was done and he questioned whether they could provide ''a silver bullet for industry''. ''If producers won't put a 30c tag in a sheep's ear now, then what are the chances of them spending $1 on an electronic tag?'' Weekly Times CASHBACK • CAS HBACK • CASHBACK • CASHB CK HBACK • * HORSEPOWER 71 CAN-AM OUTLANDER 800R EFI POLARIS SPORTSMAN XP 850 EFI∞ 69.1 ARCTIC CAT THUNDERCAT 950 H2∞ 65.8 KAWASAKI BRUTE FORCE 750∞ 49.8 SUZUKI KINGQUAD 750∞ 49.6 OUTLANDER 800R EFI 74 70 66 62 58 54 50 46 42 ** ** TTI VERTICAL-ONLY MOTION TTI REAR SUSPENSION
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